The Walking Dead 2.05 "Chupacabra" Review

A tv review article by: Paul Brian McCoy

Rick and Shane argue about whether the search for Sophia should end. Daryl gets hurt and has a hallucination involving someone from his past. Hershel warns Maggie to keep her distance from Rick's group. And Glenn finds out why Hershel doesn't want the group near the barn.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9:00 on AMC.

We're entering that magical period where the networks have either decided that holiday specials will attract more viewers or that nobody's going to be watching anyway, and all of our favorite shows are either going into or prepping for the Christmas break.

The Vampire Diaries has already called it quits, Fringe is done until next year (we'll have the final review of the year later this week), Supernatural has one more episode (after skipping a week for an Olive the Other Reindeer airing – before December even begins! Sigh!), and The Walking Dead has one more episode after this coming week's "Secrets."

It's another light week for zombie action, but another excellent week for character development as "Chupacabra" spends a healthy chunk of its runtime building up Daryl (Norman Reedus) some more.  Only this time it's not building up the character for us, it's all about allowing the character to grow inside the narrative.

We already know that Daryl's awesome and is even overcoming any kind of racist, white trash bullshit that was drilled into his head by his older brother Merle (Michael Rooker), who makes an appearance this week via a handy-dandy near-death hallucination, but this week he may have learned it too. And he may have finally felt like he's earned a place in the group.

Or maybe not. It was a little vague on that point.

But Carol (Melissa McBride) is behind him for sure.

It was kind of interesting to see that Daryl has the same sorts of anxieties about his role in the group as T-Dog (IronE Singleton). Of course, Daryl gets most of an episode to work that stuff out. I understand that Daryl is a more central character and Reedus is a bigger actor, but come on. T-Dog deserves better than that. Especially if the writers want to make him a stronger character and less of a cliché.

Not only do we get some good movement on the Daryl front, we also get some solid development in the inevitable Shane (Jon Bernthal) / Rick (Andrew Lincoln) split. And just from a fan's perspective, I'm leaning toward Shane's side and thinking we should either shit or get off the pot with regards to Sophia.

There's really no reason to drag that plot point out this long.

Despite that bit of logic, I'm growing more and more worried about the fate of Shane. Of course, if you've read the comics you know that every bit of Shane we get is gravy, but I really don't want to see him go bad. And that's what it looks like is going to happen.

At least he's not going bad with no reason, I guess. He's doing what he thinks is right, and making what he thinks are the hard decisions. And as far as charisma goes, he's got Rick beat into the ground. I have hope that his bonding with Andrea (Laurie Holden) will help to ground him and keep him on the show a little longer.

But that's not a strong hope. I'm not expecting good things to come for Shane.

Speaking of Andrea, it was nice to see her move even closer to her comic book counterpart. The sooner she's ready to live again and gives up on blaming Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) for keeping her alive, the better her character is going to become. If this show needs anything, it's strong female characters.

Of course her little snafu near the end of the episode doesn't exactly put her in the best light, but come on. Daryl looked pretty fucking dead and walky.

The development that people should be talking about with this episode, though, is the big reveal at the end. Readers of the comic knew what was coming, but it was still a little tense watching Glenn (Steven Yeun) climb up into the hayloft of the forbidden barn and cutting back to Maggie (Lauren Cohen) running to stop him.

Poor Glenn.

Her simple, "You weren't supposed to see this," isn't much of an explanation for the newbies, so expect to get a little more freaked out this week. You see, there's a reason Hershel (Scott Wilson) doesn't want guns on his property. Things are about to get strange. Not gonzo strange, but psychologically and morally strange.

You know, the brand of strange that is exactly what The Walking Dead is all about.

I'll talk a little more about that next week.

Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor to Shot for Shot. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is on sale now for Kindle US, Kindle UK, and Nook, or can be sampled and/or purchased at Smashwords. He is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy and blogging occasionally at Infernal Desire Machines.

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